Taking Care of You, While Taking Care of Business
Tips for supporting your emotional well-being during stressful times
When we experience many stressful events in a short amount of time, we may not have a chance to recover from one before the next one comes. Both chronic stress and critical/sudden stress can impact productivity, reduce clarity, lower the energy you have available for work, and can lead to emotional upset in work relationships.
Here are some suggestions for centering yourself and helping yourself return to a state of mind that supports high performance.
Make yourself the priority: If you know you are not in a good space reflect on how you might reduce your schedule or rearrange your meetings/to do list to create some more open/reflective time. Make a commitment to take your break time and lunch and allow yourself to really be off the "mental work clock" for a moment. Once you feel more settled, use your creativity and common sense to make the best new plan of action possible to meet your responsibilities.
Unplug: Allow yourself to take a break from technology several times a day. Consider taking the night off from social media and online activities to allow for deeper rest and reflection. The world will be there waiting for you when you are more rested and have a deeper sense of perspective.
Connect with nature: Spend time in your favorite outdoor space and allow yourself to really be there. Don’t wait until you get home to do this. Take advantage of our beautiful campus (or a place of beauty near you) and have some mindful moments in your favorite nature spot. This is not wasting time. This is acknowledging the simple truth that you need a moment to reset. Letting yourself have these moments when you need them is a work habit essential for sustainable high performance.
Witness your energy: Notice if you feel tense and reactive. You may feel insecure, irritated, intense, jittery, skittish, or angry. When this happens it is important to witness what you are creating in the moment and allow yourself time to become reflective about what you are thinking and feeling. Give yourself space to feel your emotions fully without ignoring them or getting carried away with them. Be cautious in your discussions with others. You are more likely to respond in an intense, negative manner when you are in this difficult emotional space. Wait to respond until you feel yourself drop back into a steady emotional state.
Connect with a specific task: Pick a task that needs to get done. It can be a routine task, a required task, or even an unwanted or unpleasant task. Bring all of your sensory attention to this task. Tune into every aspect of this task with your senses. Allow your total focus to be on just this one task. The more details you take in, the more effective this practice will be. While connecting with this task – take deep breaths and allow yourself to relax. You can effectively move through this hard time one task at a time.
Today happens to be World Mental Health Day, and it turns out that MSU offers a wide range of accessible programs and services that can help improve your mental health. So, why not take care of yourself and try one today?